There is a new musical sweeping the Broadway land in Times Square of New York City. It is "Hamilton: An American Musical", by the incredible Lin-Manuel Miranda. This gentleman wrote the music, lyrics, and book for the show, and it is downright astounding.
I am absolutely in love with this musical. It is not one to completely understand from your first listen, and let me tell you why: the cast album is made up of forty-six
(46) songs. Yes, I repeat: 46 songs. There are 23 songs in each act, and that is a HEFTY cast album. The total duration is 2:22:16, which is just amazing, because the show itself runs 2h, 55m, including a 15m intermission, meaning it is almost entirely sung-thru
, like other sensational musicals (“Les Miserables”, for instance). I often enjoy shows that are ALL music, because it makes it that much more enticing. However, when the storyline DOESN’T make sense, like with “The Wild Party” by Andrew Lippa, which I recently saw in San Francisco, dialogue is much appreciated!
That show didn’t have ENOUGH dialogue. Sigh, we can’t have everything, can we?
The hype surrounding this show has been INTENSE ever since the show had its first preview on Broadway on July 13, 2015, and opened on August 6, 2015. Every single show has been wildly sold out
, and at first, tickets were expensive, but manageable. You could get a ticket for about $200-300. I am KICKING myself because I was in New York City from February 11-15, 2016 this year, and I had the opportunity to see Hamilton for exactly $300.00. That may sound incredibly expensive for a Broadway show, and in some ways, it kind of is, because for me, I often pay between $80-150 for a Broadway show. The most I’ve ever paid is $152.75 and that was for “The Lion King” in 2011. So, seeing a show for double
that price being considered “cheap”, is kind of humorous. No one’s laughing now.
On June 12, 2016, “Hamilton”, which was nominated for a record-breaking 16 Tony Awards, swept the night and won 11 Tony’s, including all of the big ones, such as “Best Musical”, “Best Score”, “Best Book of a Musical”, “Best Choreography”, “Best Orchestrations”, “Best Lighting Design”, and “Best Lead Actor in a Musical” (Leslie Odom, Jr.). James Corden, the hilarious British host of “The Late Late Show”, was the host for the evening. In light of the terrible Orlando Pulse Shootings that occurred earlier that day, the Tony’s were an amazing night filled with love, acceptance, and camaraderie. Lin-Manuel Miranda, if he wasn’t already amazing enough (being the face behind “Hamilton”, and my other favorite show, “In The Heights”, 2008 Tony Winner), he wrote an emotional sonnet addressing the Orlando massacre which fills me with tears every time I hear it. Among other words, he states, “Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love,” and that we should “fill the world with music, love and pride.”
I love Lin-Manuel Miranda so much for being such an outstanding human being, for being so humble, for bringing the world his music, and for truly revolutionizing the sound of Broadway music as we know it today. No doubt he will join the ranks of the best and most well-known theatre composers: Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Stephen Sondheim, and Alan Menken.
In listening to “Hamilton” since the Tony Awards last Sunday, I am in constant awe and bliss at how timeless and moving this show is. In a word, this show is spellbinding
. Your attention is hooked from the first sound you hear, and it’s not over until it’s over. The storyline is incredible, the usage of words and phrasing and timing and prosody is just out of this world. The music is just downright COOL. And, not to put it lightly, incredibly emotional. A few songs stand out to me, such as “Dear Theodosia”, “Take A Break”, “It’s Quiet Uptown”, and “Who Lives Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story”. I currently listen to the album via Amazon Music Prime and their iPhone app, though I will likely purchase the album to show my support.
My original intent of writing this post was to point out how incredible the prices for this show have gone up because of its popularity and its Tony wins, but also because the composer, Lin-Manuel Miranda, is leaving the show on July 9, 2016. Yes, did I forget to mention that NOT ONLY does this man write the music, lyrics, and book, but is also an incredibly talented singer, dancer, and actor, and in both “In The Heights” and “Hamilton” he starred in the title role of his own shows? Yes, it’s true. Thus, with July 9 being only 3 weeks away, I regret to say I will not have the chance to see Lin-Manuel in this role this time around, unless he performs it on the National Tour or on Broadway again at some point. Not to fear, his understudy, Javier Muñoz, will be replacing Lin-Manuel and has already received rave reviews for his performances.
As far as pricing goes, up until Lin-Manuel Miranda leaves in 3 weeks, the ticket prices are out of this world. They start at $1,500 or so and go well up to $10,000 on some websites. You can basically only find tickes through StubHub.com or Ticketmaster “resale” tickets. I called a ticket agency in NYC that I’ve used before and the cheapest they could find me was $1,650.00 for the week Lin-Manuel leaves, which was the only time I could fly out to NYC if I really wanted to see it. Sixteen-fifty? Gosh, that’s just so much money
. A part of me ALMOST wanted to say “Yes, I’ll buy a ticket,” just so that I had the opportunity of a lifetime and a chance to be a part of seeing this show. But then reality hit me, and I realized two things: first, I already have a ticket to “Hamilton” on Broadway
that I purchased many months ago, and that show is on Wed, January 25, 2017. I purchased the ticket somewhat on a whim when sales for a new block of tickets had just gone out, and I got a 5th
row orchestra seat for about $200. So, while Lin-Manuel won’t be performing that day, I’ll still get to see Hamilton for, virtually, an incredibly good price. (I could also sell the ticket if need be… but we’ll see). Secondly, “Hamilton” is coming to San Francisco for a good two months in March 2017, and while I KNOW tickets will go very fast, I’m sure I’ll be able to snag one up (though, I’ll certainly want to see it at least
two times, maybe three if possible!). So, the opportunities to see the show are there, and there’s no need to empty my savings to see the show at an astronomical price; frugality and practicality get in the way of that.
The weeks after Lin-Manuel Miranda leaves, the ticket prices drop, but are still going for no lower than $750 a ticket, it seems. And the reason these prices are so high is not because the THEATRE sets these prices, it’s just because people who resell the tickets know that the demand is so high, kind of like Super Bowl tickets. I’m fairly certain tickets for “Hamilton” range from $175-495, I’ve read, so anything higher than a few hundred dollars, and you know there’s a markup. It baffles me to think of people who are successfully selling like 6 tickets for some $6,000 each, and making a cool $36,000 profit for doing almost no work. Scalping is frowned upon, but apparently not illegal.
So there you have it. My next endeavor is to listen to “Hamilton: The Revolution”, which was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter and released on April 12, 2016 about the creation of Hamilton, partly narrated by the authors, AND MARISKA HARGITAY!
“Sgt. Benson” from “Law & Order: SVU”! YES! Just saw this now. I am definitely ordering this audio book today. I’ll likely order a physical copy of the book too, but I am a huge Audible audio book fan (since I drive so much for work).
Until you can see it on Broadway or a National Tour yourself, enjoy the cast album of “Hamilton” and everything this remarkable show has to offer.-Christopher